Valley Lettuce takes top billing at fundraiser

Angie Nelson preparing salad dish samples for guests at her booth I Heart Salad, one of the many booths at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Imperial Valley Produce Gala & Saladero Contest on Friday.

EL CENTRO – The Boys & Girls Club of Imperial Valley, along with various sponsors, put together a Produce Gala & Saladero Contest on Friday at the Old Eucalyptus Banquet Hall. Guest were able to donate to a great cause while enjoying live music, fresh Imperial Valley grown produce, and award-winning salad.

“The biggest goal besides fundraising is to bring awareness,” explained Misty R. Lee, Interim Executive Director of the event committee, “to the Boys & Girls clubs in this area such as El Centro and Holtville. The Brawley club has been around for 50 years, but the Holtville (2 years) and El Centro clubs (6 years) are both new. So really we’re trying to create community awareness to let people know we have the clubs here and also create support for the clubs.”

There were multiple ways to donate during the event, such as silent auctions with prizes consisting of Rodeo tickets and professional tool kits and mystery boxes available for purchase filled with unique prizes.

Also a part of the event was the Saladero Contest. The 2016 Saladero Contest teams consisted of Imperial County Sheriff’s Office Corrections, I Heart Salad, Vessey & Company, Inc., and the Imperial County Younger Farmers and Ranchers. Guest were able to try each of the booths’ offerings and nominate one for the People’s Choice award.

“We want to promote produce of the Imperial Valley,” said Angie Nelson, owner of the I Heart Salad booth, “and to offer our produce in a pleasing manner to help raise money for the Boys & Girls club.”

“As a young agriculturalist, we really want to promote what the Imperial Valley provides,” explained Kelly Bishop, a member of the Young Farmers & Ranchers booth. “So from citrus to lettuce, to produce, to all the different facets of agriculture, and what goes into our foods, we’re really excited to put it together and show our creativity.”

“I’ve served on the Produce Gala committee for four years and honestly it’s teamwork,” explained Lillian Finnell. “It takes many hands pulling together and making this happen.. I think that the support for the Boys & Girls Club is growing and the Saladero Contest is also starting to get more people interested. The goal is community awareness and I think we’ve been successful in that and gaining community support.”